As a forty-something, I’m always keenly aware that the future belongs to those younger than me, in a certain sense. If you get what I’m saying, I am at an age where I realise that my thoughts and opinions were mostly formed from my experiences as a teenager and in my twenties. I guess that’s true for most of us, and so now those decades of wild youth are behind me, I find myself anxious not to become too "old" or too "set in my ways" too soon. One must strive to embrace current ways of thinking, new ideas, new approaches, in order to stay "young at heart".
With that in mind, here’s a good example of a guy who has clearly got it all wrong, a guy who has not yet taken the modern approach on board. Mr Ake Nilson of London writes thusly in the letters page of the Financial Times:
"Sir, In your editorial "It’s time to plan for the next deluge" (July 25) you say that "it is now scientifically incontrovertible that global warming is making heavy rain fall more frequently across the world’s temperate latitudes". But less than a year ago, on August 10 2006, you reported: "This year’s hot, dry summer will be repeated many times in the future and will become normal in the next 40 to 50 years if climate scientists are correct."
Please could you make up your mind as to the effect of global warming?"
No, no, no, NO, Mr Nilson! You are simply stuck in a bygone age, you are not understanding the modern approach to science at all. Yes, I understand that, like myself, you were taught that science is about first asking a question, then gathering data, then observing results and drawing conclusions therefrom, conclusions which may well contradict any preconceptions you might have had as to the answer to your question.
But that is simply not the way things are done any more; at least not where the issue of "global warming" is concerned. Oh no. You see, the scientifically correct approach is to start with the answer, "It’s all down to global warming". You have to get that fixed in your mind as a scientific constant, a given, a fait accompli, right from first principles. A bit like the speed of light, "c", you understand. Only then can you start to frame the questions around it. So, we see that: Too much rain? = Global Warming. Not enough rain? = Global Warming. Average Rain? (Go on, have a guess… Clue: G—– W——). So, it doesn’t matter if it’s the hottest, dryest summer on record, or the coolest, wettest summer on record – you start from the basic premise that it’s all due to global warming. That’s how the scientific consensus works these days. And if last year’s predictions seem to contradict this year’s predictions, what of it? Have you forgotten doublethink? Oceania is at war with Eastasia: therefore Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia. We will cure you eventually.